Splendours of Switzerland by rail

Photo blog on the Splendours of Switzerland by rail Road Scholar program, where I am working as a group leader 15-29 August, 2010

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26th August – Locarno, Andermatt, Glacier Express, St. Moritz

2010.08.27. 07:11 Eva Borsos

6 trains in one day! We can do it after practicing for 2 weeks. We started out quite early this morning with putting our luggage into a van, which was highly appreciated. Then we took the “usual” train to Bellinzona, then we change to an Intercity to Göschenen. This ride took about 1 hour and we went through 2 sets of spiral tunnels. When we entered we were in the valley when we came out we seen the same valley from above.

Then we crossed the “old” Gotthard Tunnel which is 10 miles long and the trains are going in the same tube here (in the new one there will be separate tubes).

The first picture is a hay drying small barn, which can be found all around the hills far above the settlements.



We changed in Göschenen for a cogwheel railway to “climb up” to Andermatt in about 10 minutes. During this trip we have seen the so called Devil’s bridge which connects the two sides of the gorge and that was the most difficult part to cross in the middle Ages.




We changed to a first class carriage on the Glacier Express route. This actually runs from Zermatt to St. Moritz and to take the full route it would take 7,5 hours. We just took about half of it this time. Here we cross the highest point of our journey, the Oberalppass (2044 m, 6700 ft.)






We changed again in Disentis, where you can find a Benedictine Abbey founded in 720. (The present building is from the 17th century).







From here we followed the Rhine Valley, it has several forks. The Vorderrhein what we followed had to cut through a prehistoric landslide.


In Reichenau we boarded a historical dining car which took us along the beautiful valleys. It was a really special atmosphere to enjoy lunch on the train.
The trains in this area are operated by a local company: Rhaetische Bahn similarly to other smaller companies but our rail pass is valid here as well.
Eventually we arrived to the world famous St. Moritz where we checked in to Hotel Soldanella. An oldie-worldly gem with an amazing view over the St. Moritz lake. The town is situated 1855 m (ca. 6000 ft) and is one of the most famous winter resort in Europe.
In the afternoon we had a lecture on the Graubünden Canton – which is the largest in Switzerland. The canton only joined the Swiss Confederation in 1803. Some of the inhabitants still speak the Romansh languages which is the 4th official language of Switzerland. It is based on the Latin mixed with an earlier language - Rhaetien. 60.000 people speak this language.


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